HDTV Switch Looming

Saturday, January 31st 2009, 12:07 am
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The mad dash for high-definition television and convertors boxes is in full swing as the countdown toward digital television continues.

Stores in the metro say they've seen foot traffic increase and are likely to continue in the days to come.

This week, Congress vetoed a measure to delay the switch to June. One metro man agrees with the vote saying we've had plenty of time to get ready for this transition.

Alan Hayes, 70, admits he's not one for gadgets and state-of-the-art electronics.

"I wouldn't say I'm technologically savvy," Hayes said.

But he is one for preparation. So when he heard about the DTV conversion a year ago he went out and purchased two high-definition televisions.

"I have one here in the living room that's HD and one in the bedroom, a convenience sort of thing," Hayes siad.

He also bought a converter box for the television in his kitchen, so he has little sympathy for those who find themselves caught off-guard.

"Cable channels have run specials on it explaining it," Hayes said. "PBS has run specials explaining it. I think it's been plenty of time, plenty of preparation."

So did Congress, who shot down a measure this week to delay DTV conversion. Since then, local stores have noticed a spike in converter box sales.

"Demand has been pretty good," Harry Seley with Harry's T.V. Video & Appliances said. "I've argued with the distributor because they kept saying we don't need these, but then I run out."

To date, Seley has sold about 500 boxes. Hundreds of government issued coupons have been redeemed, and even though there's a coupon shortage, boxes continues to arrive.

"We have a lot of people that are getting them for the second set," Seley said.

Cox Communications is also reporting a jump in cable subscriptions, but it's not sure whether that's due to impending switch. Cable subscribers don't need a box or a high-definition TV for the conversion -- a message the company wasted no time promoting.

"We just kind of decided the earlier we can get in front of this issue and start educating consumers, Cox customers and non-Cox customers, the easier it would be," Christine Martin with Cox Communications said.

A warning for those of you who have portable battery operated televisions in the basement or storm shelter, those will not work after February 17, so you might want to replace that with a weather radio.

If you have cable service already your television will work fine after the switch. If you rely on an antenna to watch TV, you'll have to get a converter box.